Analysis of Chinua Achebe's 'Things Fall Apart'

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Chinua Achebe's 1958 novel Things Fall Apart marked a significant turning point not only for literature, but the world, because the novel is an attempt to blend the conflicting identities and ideologies of Africa in the wake of colonization. The novel depicts the destructive tension that arises between the traditions of the Igbo people and white colonizers, but, perhaps contrary to the reader's expectation, it does not present either side as holding the ethical high ground. Rather, the novel suggests that both the Igbo and the white missionaries perpetuate repressive ideologies, and furthermore, that the destructive effects of these ideologies are visited upon both Ikemefuna and Okonkwo. Okonkwo's larger narrative arc actually suggests an ideal third path that discards the , because the novel blends elements of African and Western literature in order to tell a story that is simultaneously a tragedy in the Greek sense and clearly, essentially African. By examining Okonkwo's story in detail, it will be possible to see how Achebe uses the particular narrative elements of Things Fall Apart in order to demonstrate a potential bridge between the two societies which in the novel are seemingly so far apart. To state that the 1958 publication of Things Fall Apart was a significant moment for literature and the world is not a particularly bold statement, because its centrality to the understanding of African society pre and post colonialism, as well as its particular historical
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